YASMIN HOOD - STUDIO TOUR
WORDS: JO DOWSETT
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAROLYN CARTER
Yasmin’s studio did not disappoint. Her incredible light space reflected her vibrancy, love of colour, passion for mixed media, illustrious poetry and dedication to fine illustration which were all apparent in abundance. Her studio is located on the ground floor of her home and it reflects her personality; energetic, dynamic and animated. It was as if we had entered a world full of Yasmin’s dreams. Each corner of her studio is dedicated to a specific project or creative ambition. Yasmin is able to move seamlessly from one project to another, depending on where her energy and creativity take her. Tables, easels and trollies are laden with creative goodies that we just had to delve deeper into.
The studio is painted white with wooden flooring and a large north west facing window allowing a constant stream of light. The walls are covered with past projects, including a beautiful composition of Prince full of fine detail, ink and layering of paper through endless cutting and sticking. Cork boards containing intricate drawings and notebooks brimming with pencil sketches, words, thoughts and a current story board are a constant source of inspiration. Mixed media projects containing ribbon, wool, fabric, threads and embroidery are suspended from the ceiling and give an indication into the far reaching competencies Yasmin demonstrates as a designer maker.
We were delighted to see the original artworks from her fabulous ‘Amazing Animals’ children’s book and to have the opportunity to pour over the intricate detail provided by the ink, pen, paint and pastel detail included in each piece. The application of layers and layers of collage were a delight, giving her work a strong, 3 dimensional quality.
Yasmin’s current ongoing project is a second children’s book that she is hoping will be a totally unique and immersive experience for the reader. Her ability to tell a story through dialogue, illustration, theatre and photography will be an exciting culmination of her body of work to date.
Yasmin lives in Worcester with her husband and two young children.
You have an ability to tell a great story through your artwork. Has it always been important to include a dialogue? What comes first? The words or the artwork?
‘The words come first. Always the words.’ Yasmin has sketch books full of poetry, song lyrics and dialogue and she feels that she ‘needs a narrative’ otherwise she is ‘just drawing’. She believes that her love of words and dialogue stem from years of song writing and this desire to express herself runs concurrently with her innate need to draw and work with paper.
How does an artwork usually come to life? Is there a certain routine you pursue from the original idea or does it flow organically?
‘If I have an idea, I just go for it. Often, the end result isn’t how I imagined it would turn out but the first mistake can often shape the overall result.’ Yasmin tells us that ‘a blank page can be intimidating and a pen or pencil can sometimes feel too perfect.’ She often uses pipettes as a pen to draw with, as the flow is quicker and less perfect or starts illustrating and writing onto vintage paper from old books. Rather than sitting still and being precise in her method, Yasmin finds she uses her whole body and and is quite free when creating. She knows when a piece is finished but if she has overdone it, she can simply ‘cut out a piece of paper and glue it on top.’
Yasmin referred back to her creative space and how it makes her feel. ‘Sometimes it is intimidating to have blank walls and a clinical space can feel quite scary.’ This is why her walls provide the backdrop to her past works and inspiration for new ones. If she has limited time, which can often be the case between nursery drop offs and toddler naps, she has everything in the right place and all of her creative tools within easy reach around her.
Yasmin feels her work is ‘expressive and unconventional’ and although she doesn’t feel that her work is beautiful in a precise, dainty sense, there is definitely a raw and honest beauty within each of her artworks.
Do you fuse personal experiences and ideas with your artwork or is it all from your imagination?
‘Most of it is from my imagination but I am also influenced by what is happening in the world around me.’ One of Yasmin’s pieces is ‘Ain’t gonna hate’ and this was a reflection on how she was feeling with reference to America’s political situation. The origins of her ‘Amazing Animals’ book are from a poster she designed for a friend’s gig at a local venue.
You have worked collaboratively with a variety of different people. Do you prefer this process or working by yourself?
Yasmin’s back story is diverse and includes working in a theatre setting for the Imaginarium project. Here, she created characters and developed a story through artistic play with the child audience and constructed a set-build and props in response to workshopping with the children. She is currently collaborating with close friends on an exciting project. Yasmin tells us that she ‘loves learning from others and adding her own element’ to a creative project. However, her own work is her baby and she can only rely on herself because ‘I am the soul of it. It comes from within.’
Can you remember a situation that triggered your self belief to become an artist?
‘Becoming a Mum made me less judgemental on myself. I stopped asking “is it good enough?” Now, I just need to get on with it.’
How do you prioritise your work?
Yasmin is a list maker. ‘Just 5 things to do in a week but with no subheadings and highlights like there used to be! Just so I know that I’m keeping on top of the most important things.’
She thinks about her work the night before and subsequently dreams a lot. She listens to her dreams and uses them as her guidance. Her dreams are often about waiting at a train station. ‘If I’m at a train station and I can’t physically get anywhere, then I know that I have already arrived at my destination.’
And she will wake up and dive straight in to her wonderful creative world, enriching us all by allowing us to benefit from it.
See more of Yasmin’s work at